Leading Bank Union, the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) has written to the Chairman of Indian Bank Association (IBA) that many bank officers have died due to COvid-19. But there are others who have fallen prey to Covid induced health complications such as respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, septic shock, thromboembolism and/or multi-organ failure including injury to heart, liver or kidneys (source WHO Bulletins) necessitating prolonged expensive treatment. Yet others died from post-COVID complications such as pneumonia, mucormycosis (Black Fungus) or other such diseases directly or indirectly induced by the dreaded virus. In these cases, the death certificates do not categorically state that the cause of death is COVID-19. The families of such bankers are being denied payment of one-time Ex-Gratia as well as Compassionate appointment schemes as the death certificates do not clearly mention COVID !9 as the cause of death. The letter goes on to urge that to issue suitable advisory so as tovinclude post Covid complications as the proximate cause of death in the death certificate as an essential requisite for qualifying ex-gratia for the bereaved families as well for Compassionate Appointment for a family member of the deceased. The content of the letter written by the AIBOC is given below for the benefit of the viewers of www.indianpsu.com –
Extension of One Time Ex Gratia in cases of death due to COVID-19 induced health complications Additional welfare initiatives for the families of deceased bankers
1. You are aware that a more virulent strain of COVID-19 virus has unleashed a second wave of the pandemic in our country, infecting a very large proportion of the population and causing an even higher rate of fatalities. As frontline workers, bank officers have been unflinchingly carrying out their duties to keep the wheels of the economy moving. A significant number among them have succumbed to the dreaded virus, while many others have fallen prey to Covid induced health complications such as respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, septic shock, hromboembolism and/or multi-organ failure including injury to heart, liver or kidneys (source WHO Bulletins) necessitating prolonged expensive treatment. Yet others died from post-COVID complications such as pneumonia, mucormycosis (Black Fungus) or other such diseases directly or indirectly induced by the dreaded virus. In these cases, the death certificates do not categorically state that the cause of death is COVID-19.
02. The families of those who fell victims to such maladies are therefore being denied payment of one-time Ex-Gratia as well as Compassionate appointment schemes solely on the ground that the death certificates do not clearly mention COVID !9 as the cause of death. There can be no justifiable ground to doubt that such diseases and the deaths are directly or indirectly attributable to the incidence of COVID-19. In consonance with the guidelines issued by various banks, an essential prerequisite for qualifying payment of the Ex -Gratia is that there must be a clear mention in the death certificate that the deceased had tested COVID-19 positive and had died due to COVID-19 infection. This has given rise to ample misgivings among the officers who have begun to doubt whether such compensation would actually be available to their families in the unfortunate event of any fatalities. Assailed by such doubts, they feel demotivated and demoralised.
03. We, therefore, urge upon you to address the problems and kindly issue suitable advisory so as to include post Covid complications as the proximate cause of death in the death certificate as an essential requisite for qualifying ex-gratia for the bereaved families as well for Compassionate Appointment. May we also urge from the point of view of humanitarianism that such amendment be also made effective retrospectively so that all deprived families of the deceased officers who had died from such COVID-19 related complications may also be benefited with the same compensation. We sincerely believe that such a compassionate and humanitarian gesture of the management would encourage and inspire the officers
to work with greater zeal, dedication and sincerity.
04. We would also draw your attention to the slew of humanitarian measures and social security schemes announced by Shri Ratan Tata for employees of Tata Steel under which family members would receive last drawn salary till superannuation age along with shouldering the responsibility of education of children of all frontline workers who succumb to the virus. Our employees and officers have been relentlessly working to serve the nation during times of national crisis to keep the wheels of the economy moving risking their lives of getting infected of this dreaded virus and rightfully we have been recognised as Frontline Covid warriors by the government. It is also an irony that despite earning the sobriquet of FLW, our personnel were deprived of the vaccination given to other FLWs. Consequently, hundreds of young employees and officials in the age bracket of 25 to 45 have succumbed to the virus.
05. We, therefore, demand that the banks should pay the salaries of all such employees till their superannuation and simultaneously arrange to bear the education costs of the children. The compassionate appointment scheme as devised by IBA should not have any bar on eligibility and should not restrict any family member seeking compassionate appointment on the upper age criterion.
06. We further demand that all children who lost both parents due to Covid-19 to be supported by a scheme under bank’s Covid-19 Welfare scheme to create a corpus of Rs 1 crore in the form of a fixed deposit. Covid-19 Welfare scheme that entail taking full responsibility of children orphaned by the pandemic will have provisions for stipend which is expected to take care of their tuition and hostel fees till at least graduation. At 23 years each child will get the corpus amount as one lump sum for personal and professional use. It is our duty to care for the children of the deceased family and instil hope for a bright future.
The Revised scheme for Compassionate Appointment should include death due to complications during post Covid-19 recovery period where in corona virus is the proximate cause of death. In such circumstances, the incidence of death should be considered death due to COVID-19 with retrospective effect from 24.03.2020 (i.e. the date of announcement of first nationwide lockdown) as the Death Certificate may not specifically contain that death was due to Covid. Taking a holistic view on the persisting problem, we appeal that IBA suitably modify the extant Compassionate Appointment scheme accommodate such death cases and waive the indigent clause.